Priest Lawsuit: 2 Women Sue Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and a Reprimanded Priest, Alleging Abuse in 1960s and Current Racial Bias

By Jeff Long
Chicago Tribune
May 11, 2009,0,3675796.story

Plaintiffs were girls in St. Laurence Parish in Chicago

Two women have filed a federal lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and a reprimanded priest, alleging abuse about 40 years ago and racial bias in how local officials treat current cases.

On Sunday the women's lawyer urged a quick settlement because one of them is dying of cancer.

"Her case has not been settled because the archdiocese refuses to do so," said lawyer Phillip Aaron at a news conference, which was held by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priestson Sunday morning across the street from Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral.

An archdiocese spokeswoman said Sunday that she was surprised that a lawsuit had been filed involving the priest, Anthony Vader, who was removed from public ministry in 2003 when church officials acknowledged his misconduct.

"The case has been in mediation since December," said archdiocese spokeswoman Colleen Dolan. "Are they saying mediation is over?"

Dolan said she could not comment on specifics of the lawsuit, filed late Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, because archdiocese officials have not seen it.

The women are black, and the lawsuit also accuses the archdiocese of treating African-American victims of abuse differently.

"Dissimilar treatment includes ... the imposition of a higher burden of proof in regard to the abuse," the lawsuit alleges.

Dolan said that is false.

The plaintiffs are 58-year-old women who attended the now-closed St. Laurence Catholic School in Chicago. Vader was the parish pastor there from 1964 until 1968. From 1968 to 1998, he was at Holy Name of Mary Church in Morgan Park.



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